Young Black Actresses: Who Are These Leading Ladies?

Young Black Actresses

There is some truly amazing Black talent in the acting world, and today’s fresh, talented young Black actresses are outstanding. From independent films to huge studio blockbusters, these young ladies’ talent is evident all over Hollywood and beyond. Their ability to embody a wide range of complex characters and tell stories that resonate deeply with diverse audiences is truly awe-inspiring. As trailblazers in their own right, these young Black actresses are breaking down barriers, challenging stereotypes, and paving the way for future generations of Black talent. Here are some of the top Black actresses under 30 working in the film and TV industry today. We can’t wait to see how their careers progress!

Amandla Stenberg, Age 24

Where You’ve Seen Her: “The Hate U Give,” “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse”

Featured in Time’s list of Most Influential Teens in 2015 and 2016, Amandla Stenberg’s first role was in 2011’s “Colombiana” when she was just 13. Her big breakthrough came the next year, when she was cast as Rue in “The Hunger Games.”  Since then, she has delivered many powerful performances and is an outspoken advocate for Black women. We look forward to seeing her in the lead role in the upcoming Star Wars series, “The Acolyte!”

China Anne McClain, Age 24

Where You’ve Seen Her: “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne,” “Black Lightning,” “the Descendants movie series”

China Anne McClain’s career started at age 7 with her role as Alexis in “The Gospel.” She has played the character Jasmine Payne in “House of Payne,” as well as the sequel series, “The Paynes.” She is also a talented musician, performing with her two sisters as the group Thriii.

Coco Jones, Age 25

Where You’ve Seen Her: “Let It Shine,” “Bel-Air,” “Vampires vs. the Bronx”

Coco Jones got her start with the Disney Channel in 2011 when she was just 13. Her first big break came with the lead role in “Let It Shine,” the most-watched Disney Channel original movie in 2012. On top of her acting career, Coco Jones is also a talented musician and won Best New Artist at the 2023 BET Awards and Outstanding New Artist at the 54th NAACP Image Awards.

She has been outspoken about her struggles with the film industry’s colorism and is a fierce anti-bullying advocate.

Halle Bailey, Age 23

Where You’ve Seen Her: “Grown-ish,” “The Little Mermaid”

23-year-old Halle Bailey’s acting career began in 2012 with a small part in the film “Joyful Noise.” Since then, she has guest-starred on several TV shows and has had an incredible music career as half of the duo Chloe x Halle. Her breakthrough role was Ariel in the 2023 remake of “The Little Mermaid,” where her singing stole the show.

Lexi Underwood, Age 19

Where You’ve Seen Her: “Little Fires Everywhere,” “Cruel Summer,” “Will Vs. The Future”

Lexi Underwood has been featured in many Disney programs since her debut in late 2013, but her biggest role to date was her standout performance in Hulu’s “Little Fires Everywhere.” She is also a stage actress, playing roles like Young Nala in the 2015 touring production of “The Lion King.”

Priah Nicole Ferguson, Age 16

Where You’ve Seen Her: “Atlanta,” “My Dad the Bounty Hunter,” “Stranger Things”

One of the most talented Black actresses on Netflix, Priah Nicole Ferguson got her start in independent films. Her big break was originating the character Erica Sinclair on “Stranger Things,” and she has gone on to star in more Netflix original series, movies, and more.

Quvenzhane Wallis, Age 19

Where You’ve Seen Her: “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” “Annie,” “Trolls,” “Black-ish”

Making her debut at 9 years old in “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” Quvenzhane Wallis was one of the youngest actresses to be nominated for an Academy Award. She has won several awards, including the Black Reel Award for Best Actress, and has also written four children’s books.

Riele Downs, Age 21

Where You’ve Seen Her: “All That,” “Bel-Air,” “Darby and the Dead”

Riele Downs tok her first acting role at the tender age of 3. Since then, she’s been a rising star in TV, being featured in the 2019 revival of “All That,” the sketch comedy series for tweens, Bel-Air, and many more shows and movies. A talented actress with great comedy chops, she’s one to watch.

Samantha Logan, Age 26

Where You’ve Seen Her: “13 Reasons Why,” “The Fosters,” “All American”

Born in 1996, Samantha Logan’s acting career really began with a starring role in an episode of “Law and Order: SVU.” Since then, she’s been cast in soap operas, comedies, dramas, and more. Primarily a TV actress, she commands the spotlight as Olivia Baker, one of the main characters in the CW sports drama “All American.”

Skai Jackson, Age 21

Where You’ve Seen Her: “Jessie,” “Dreamworks Dragons: Rescue Riders,” “Dancing with the Stars”

Named one of Time magazine’s most influential teens of the year in 2016, Skai Jackson has starred in numerous shows for kids and tweens– both live action and animated. She was also featured in Lil Nas X’s video “Panini,” and is a published author.

Storm Reid, Age 20

Where You’ve Seen Her: “A Wrinkle in Time,” “When They See Us,” “Euphoria,” “The Last Of Us”

Storm Reid has been acting professionally since 2012, but her breakout role was her star turn as Meg Murray in 2018’s “A Wrinkle in Time.” Since then, she has starred in several movies and tv shows, including several critically acclaimed science fiction and horror films.

Zendaya, Age 26

Where You’ve Seen Her: “Euphoria,” “Dune,” “Spider-Man: No Way Home”

Zendaya Coleman, who goes by her mononym, is an actress, singer, model– basically, a total powerhouse. Another actress who started working with the Disney Channel as a child, Zendaya has been featured in all types of movies– there’s no genre or role she can’t play. She is also an active philanthropist, supporting underfunded schools, women’s rights, anti-bullying measures, Black Lives Matter, and numerous other charitable works.

Find Young Black Actresses on BlackOakTV

We’re so proud of these young Black actresses and their incredible talent. Each one of these actresses brings a unique and powerful presence to the screen, captivating audiences with their exceptional performances. For more Black excellence, check out’s extensive media catalog. We have all the best Black content!

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